A lot of us desk jockeys don’t get much in terms of exercise. I know I didn’t back when I started as a freelance writer working from home. However, I was able to stave off weight gain while building muscle thanks to a dumbbell micro workout.
This is when I take five minutes out of my time and work with a pair of dumbbells. I do this three times throughout the day, and the results have been quite impressive over the last month.
Which proves to me that I don’t need to focus on a solid 45-minute workout once a day. I can stagger them and still see results relatively quick.
What You’ll Need
Because this workout is great for those who work from home, you don’t have to worry too much about cluttering your office space.
For instance, you might find it difficult to stash a pair of dumbbells and a full-sized exercise ball near your cubicle if you’re in a traditional business atmosphere.
You’ll only need two things for this workout:
- A pair of dumbbells.
Any weight of dumbbell will work. Though, I do suggest you at least try to push yourself a bit. Personally, I find 20 pounds to be a key size. But use what makes you feel comfortable.
- A full-sized exercise ball.
Although there is only one exercise in this workout which uses the exercise ball, it’s worth the addition. This is because it’ll help with strengthening your core.
In total, I think I spent around $60 for everything. I’m using a Stayball from Gold’s Gym and a pair of 20 pound dumbbells I picked up from Walmart.
It’s somewhat convenient as guests at my house will often use the exercise ball as a chair when talking to me in my office space…even though there is a real chair available.
These are only a few things I have in my collection of home office exercise equipment. I’ll write an article about my other tools for fitness at a later date.
What is in My Dumbbell Micro Workout?
Essentially, my dumbbell micro workout focuses on upper body and core work. However, it’s nothing set in stone. In fact, I often change one of these exercises with something new.
For example, I used to do exercise ball dumbbell flies before I changed it to the twisting floor press.
The point is to find dumbbell exercises that work best for what you want to accomplish.
I started doing hammer curls in the dumbbell micro workout because they are more comfortable on my elbow. I have a case of tendinitis that makes lifting a bit painful. However, hammer curls seem to put less strain than traditional curls.
I like starting with hammer curls as it helps strengthen my biceps. I don’t want to Hulk out or turn myself into “The Rock.” But I geek out a bit when I start to see development in my arms.
And it’s easy to move into the lateral raise from a curl.
Lateral raises put effort into strengthening the shoulders. I can also feel the work in my arms as I lift the 20-pound weights. This isn’t to mention the work on your traps, or the muscle running from your neck to your shoulders.
And although I can only do half in terms of reps compared to the other workouts, I’ve noticed a huge difference in development from shoulder to shoulder.
Twisting Dumbbell Floor Press
One of the reasons I added the twisting dumbbell floor press is because I want to work on my chest. And, it’s easy to move from this exercise into the glute bridge I’ll cover in a moment.
It’s the twisting motion at the end that makes the greatest impact. Every time I do a set of these, I can definitely feel it in my pecs. More so than I did with the dumbbell fly.
Weighted Glute Bridge
From the twisting floor press, it’s easy to move into a weighted glute bridge. I know, most people will use a weighted plate for this exercise. But I will place one of my 20-pound dumbbells on my waist, resting each end on my hips.
Placing my hands gently on the dumbbell to stop it rolling across my body, I’ll start moving into glute bridges.
Why the glute bridge? Because I want to be able to bounce a quarter off my butt.
Seriously, though, I don’t mind having strong glutes as they contribute to a lot of physical activity…including bowling!
Exercise Ball Jackknife
And the last exercise on the list is the exercise ball jackknife. You probably don’t need to include this one in your own dumbbell mirco workout. I do simply because I want to work on my core.
Because I have problems with my wrist as well, I use the dumbbells to hold myself on the floor while doing the jackknife movement. Plus, the dumbbells do a pretty good job of keeping myself stable and in place.
As soon as I strengthen my core even more, I’ll definitely add some reps. The exercise ball jackknife is a far better exercise than I thought it was.
The Routine Itself
Ok, now that we have an idea about what goes into my dumbbell micro workout, let’s put it all together.
Now, don’t be afraid to change any segment of this workout. This includes using lighter weights, changing reps or finding other exercises to do yourself.
The first thing I do is set a few alarms on my phone. This is because I’ll simply forget to workout if I don’t have a reminder.
I’ll turn on alarms for: 10:00 am, 3:45 pm and 8:45 pm. You can set your own according to your schedule. For me, this works perfect and helps break up the day.
I also go for brief 5-minute walks periodically so I can get up out of my chair and stretch my legs every so often.
For each workout alarm, I’ll do:
- 20 reps of Hammer Curls
- 10 reps of Lateral Raises
- 20 reps of Twisting Dumbbell Floor Press
- 15 reps of Weighted Glute Bridges
- 10 reps of Exercise Ball Jackknife
This entire set takes under 10 minutes to perform. In fact, I just timed it this morning and I was able to complete the entire run in under five minutes.
However, feel free to adjust this any way you like.
It’s quite customizable to fit your needs. The only thing you really need to keep in mind is finding exercises that work for what you want to accomplish.
In reality, I add reps each week to give myself more of a challenge. And being able to do more also shows me how much stronger I am than when I started.
Don’t Be Afraid to Customize the Experience
Please note that I cannot guarantee you’ll have the same results I do. But I can attest to how it’s made an impact on myself. This dumbbell micro workout has made a huge difference in body definition and strength.
That is, as long as I maintain doing it at least three times a day. Sometimes I get sidetracked with work and skip one of my alarms.
Lately, though, I’ve been forcing myself to stop working for exercise. Because if I don’t, it’ll take longer to achieve the results I want.
What, no leg work?
I would add more leg work in my dumbbell micro workout, but I get plenty when playing the Xbox Kinect or when going for walks. In fact, my legs are probably the most developed part of my body.
If I could get the rest of me to look like that, I would look like a Greek god!
Keep Yourself Moving
In reality, any movement beyond sitting at your desk is going to be beneficial. While the above dumbbell micro workout works exceptionally well for myself, you need to find something that is going to benefit you.
Keep yourself moving throughout the day, even if it’s just a walk around the office. It’ll benefit your heart, brain and overall health.